Thursday, May 23, 2019
MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us today for our Stanley Cup conference call. Joining us to be will be our executive producer, Sam Flood, our team of Mike “Doc” Emrick and Pierre McGuire and our analyst Mike Milbury. Before we take questions, each of the commentators will make an opening remark. Just as a reminder, we will have a transcript of this call available on NBCSportsgrouppressbox.com in a few hours. So let’s begin the call right now with our executive producer, Sam Flood.
SAM FLOOD: Hi everybody. Thanks for joining us. We are very excited about the Stanley Cup Finals. Nothing like a flashback to 1970 and the drama of that Cup win in Boston and what that meant to a generation of hockey players and really ignited the hockey boom in that city.
You look at St. Louis, a city that is now dominating the first round of NHL drafts, clearly the hockey bug is real and great in St. Louis. So to have these two markets to be able to face off in a Stanley Cup Finals years later should be a lot of fun.
It’s the kind of hockey that I know Doc Emrick likes a lot. It’s hard-hitting, it’s physical, and as I mentioned, it’s hard-hitting. So it’s kind of the perfect series for Doc Emrick, who is on a winning streak unlike any other in sport, six straight Emmy Awards as the best play-by-play guy in all of sports television, and there was one other before that, so seven total for our man Doc Emrick who leads our team from the booth, so take it away, Doc.
MIKE EMRICK: Thank you, Sam. It’s just a thrill to be headed to this series because there are an overwhelming number of story lines, and Sam has mentioned one, and that photograph was on the front door of my office at Geneva College as I taught that next fall in the fall of 1970, and I don’t know — Bruce Cassidy said that he was a newspaper boy up in Ottawa and he had that poster as one of the two posters in his room, and he declined official comment as to what the other poster was.
But it’s all a part of lore and memory, and memories are wonderful, but we’re about to make some more with a lot of large body forechecking teams. That will be exciting. Amidst all the cranes and skeletons of steel around TD Garden and anyone who is going to the series and hasn’t been there lately, there is a lot of that going on. There’s a lot of building going on, but there will be a lot of wonderful story building with this series. And although this next voice did not see the Bobby Orr goal on television that afternoon, chances are that three-year-old Eddie Olczyk was watching on his uncle’s shoulders watching the sixth at Arlington park in Chicago that day, and here is Eddie Olczyk.
EDDIE OLCZYK: Thank you very much, Doc. I would have to say that that poster on his board was Farrah Fawcett, but that’s just an estimation by this one person right here.
Sam touched on it: Two heavy teams, two big teams, two goaltenders playing extremely well. Tuukka Rask, I don’t think I’ve seen him play better in his career. Depth on the back end, fourth lines that can contribute — so called fourth lines — I think the sky’s the limit for this series. So in that I will pass it to Pierre.
PIERRE MCGUIRE: Thanks a lot, guys. Exciting series, evenly-matched teams. Coaching is definitely going to make a difference. Matchups will make a huge difference.
One thing that St. Louis has that a lot of the previous teams that Boston played against, St. Louis has that those teams don’t have, is matchup capability on the back end. This is a coming-out party nor Colton Parayko, Jay Bouwmeester, his partner, is 35 years of age, but he’s had a great playoff to date. First time in the Stanley Cup Finals.
And then you look just a little bit deeper on the lineup for the St. Louis Blues, and you see Joel Edmundson, who has had a tremendous playoff after having a haphazard start, and Alex Pietrangelo, who has just been fantastic for them in every facet of the game. So that’s something to pay attention to if you’re a fan of the Bruins, and it gives St. Louis a fighting chance to compete with the depth of the Boston Bruins’ forwards.
But really one of the huge stories for St. Louis has been Craig Berube and what he’s been able to do as a coach of this team, and I think that’s something that’s going to find a way to be an important factor in this series. He and Bruce Cassidy are going to have to really match wits, and I think that will be one of the really big story lines as we go deeper into the series. Mike Milbury, I know you had a chance to watch Boston a lot, and I know you watch St. Louis a lot. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
MIKE MILBURY: I just grew — as the series went on, I grew more enamored of the St. Louis lineup. You think maybe this is kind of flukey, they started off so badly and then they all of a sudden hit a nice patch. But you think the dream is going to end at some point but it didn’t, they just kept on coming and they kept on impressing. And when Game 3 ended, after that non-call on the hand pass, I remember Patrick Sharp in the studio saying, You know, this might be something positive for them, and I’m thinking to myself, What the hell is he smoking? And it turned out to be right. It turned out to be something that they were able to just Berube walked in the room and said, Forget it, don’t say much to the media, let’s move on.
And move on they did. They moved on with authority and won a Game 4 and the rest was history. It is tenacious. It is resilient. The group is solid from top to bottom and obviously well-coached. And I think the two teams square off pretty evenly on paper. I give the edge to Boston, mainly due to experience and some stellar play from a guy like Bergeron and Krejci, who has led the post-season in scoring twice, which puts them in awfully elite company, and a solid defense in Tuukka Rask.
Edso was exactly right; he has never played better. My only concern about that position is that Rask has been known to get absolutely torrid and he stays torrid for a long time. 10 days off is a long layoff, and will he go from torrid to tepid, which he has been before and why fans in Boston have a love/hate affair with him, or will he stay torrid? It will be fascinating to watch.
MODERATOR: All right, thank you everybody. We can now take questions from the press.
Q. Sam, wanted to see how this series matches up from a TV standpoint for the two markets.
SAM FLOOD: Two fabulous markets. St. Louis had great numbers during the Conference Finals, and the final game was 21.8 or something. Insanity. Then you take the Boston area and it’s not just Boston, it’s got all of Rhode Island, it’s got all of New Hampshire, it’s got all of Maine, it’s got all of Vermont. It’s got a lot of Connecticut, and it’s even got some people in New Jersey. So there’s a beautiful market opportunity here.
And St. Louis is a great hockey town. It has been for a long time. And obviously a 49-year wait to be in the Finals, I think it’s going to be an incredible scene there, and I can’t wait to be in that building and outside that building for Game 3 because I think it’s going to put things on an epic level of celebration and energy.
Q. If all of you — Doc has already stolen my story line here, but if each one of you could recount where you were May 10th, 1970, if you did watch the game, what you remember of that day, maybe from a broadcast standpoint and also like Butch, if you kept the poster around. Maybe you could start, Mike.
MIKE MILBURY: I was in the living room with a whole bunch of Milburys. You have to put this in context, that era was — I mean you think of the media around the Patriots or the Red Sox, people were delirious about the Orr era, and you’d go to school after a Thursday night game on Friday, that’s all anybody talked about.
So the build-up to this was just fantastic. We sat in a tiny little living room watching a black-and-white TV listening to Dan Kelly make the call, and it was just an explosion of emotion. People actually ran out of their house and up and down the street screaming, and I mean, it was as wonderful a sporting experience as I’ve ever had. I remember it vividly, and it was that week by Orr that stuck in everyone’s mind, and I didn’t need the poster then and I don’t need the poster now to remember it.
SAM FLOOD: I was watching the game with my hockey coach father on a black-and-white TV with squiggly lines, and even through the squiggly lines you could see Bobby Orr fine. And it was one of the great memories, bonding with your dad who was a coach and seeing all that happen and then, yes, that poster was on my wall and, yes, that picture was in my office signed by Bobby Orr with a nice note on it, and it is a sporting memory that lasts a lifetime because it’s a relationship with your dad, relationship with the city, and just an incredible moment of joy when that goal went in for a whole city, and any hockey player wanted to do that. And we were all down on the ice at Milborn Gruneau School jumping in the air pretending we were flying like Bobby Orr. I didn’t go quite as high or far, and I didn’t score as well.
MIKE MILBURY: One other thing. I think everybody that’s been in sports recognizes that when you have a team like that that binds a city, it really does bind the city. It brought the city of Boston entirely together as Bruins fans, and it was everywhere, and it was the single most binding moment I can ever remember. It was the pinnacle of fandom in my mind.
Q. I would agree with that. Pierre, were you old enough? I can’t remember.
PIERRE MCGUIRE: Oh, yeah, I watched it. I was sitting on my uncle’s couch on Markham Road in TMR in Montreal, and I remember it like it was yesterday, especially having had a chance to talk to both Derek Sanderson and Bobby Orr years later about it, and I have the same poster and picture that most everybody else has. Really grateful for that. I have it hanging on my wall in my office up in Montreal Blanc, Quebec, so, yeah, no, I remember it clear as day, and when you’re a kid growing up in Montreal, you didn’t always cheer for the Boston Bruins, but you could always find a way to cheer for Bobby Orr, and that was one of the things that I always took out of watching the Bruins play, especially in those days, just how the how great Bobby Orr was. So I remember that like it was yesterday.
Q. Eddie, you feeling left out here?
EDDIE OLCZYK: No, that’s okay. Full disclosure, I was a little too young for that. I remember seeing that picture for the first time, though, and that was like one of those as an American-born player to see that picture and wanting to somehow, some way, get to the National Hockey League when you see that. I don’t care if you’re a Bruins fan or not, you emulate that, like Sam had touched on, and I remember seeing it probably a couple years later. But yeah, that’s one of those iconic images that just is so powerful when it comes to how great our game is and regardless of how old you may be, whether you saw it in person or not, I think that’s one of those pictures that everybody knows when they either saw it live or heard about it or saw that picture for the first time, it just, it’s just an incredible lasting memory.
Q. Doc, you started out by — I have to confess my phone was cutting out. Could you go over that again quickly?
MIKE EMRICK: Oh, I was watching in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. I was teaching at Geneva College at the time, and over the summer I got the poster, but I was watching on black-and-white television just like everybody else that didn’t have the money for color back in those days and was excited about — it was no surprise that they won.
I was thinking, well, maybe Red Berenson can set up somebody in overtime and this thing can go back for a fifth game, but it was pretty apparent that they were the better team. It was a question of whether they would win it or not, and they, in fact, did, and I got the poster over the summer, and at the school I was trying to sell hockey to anybody. I had the standings on my bulletin board in my office and I would change them every day with cards. I was a big hockey fan trying to promote hockey while on campus.
And so there was a woman named Marian Gilmore that was in charge of — she was in charge of the accounting department, where all the money was kept, and so when I ordered that poster, I ordered one of Gump Worsley and in a Montreal Canadiens uniform and, by George, she put it up in her office right above the safe. Seems like an appropriate place for Gump Worsley to be. That’s what I remember.
Q. Eddie and Mike, you guys have coached in the NHL and you see what Bruce Cassidy and Craig Berube have done in their second jobs. Curious your thoughts on those guys’ evolution from their first job to the second and just the idea of getting a second chance as coach and kind of how big a leap that is from a first job to a second job.
MIKE MILBURY: That’s an interesting question. When I first started to coach, I was sent to the minor leagues. When I talked to Eric Sinda (phonetic) about it, he said, I was hoping to be in management some day and he said, you have to coach. I went to Maine for two years and sort of got my feet wet there and then came to Boston and it was a little different, a little bit more skilled players, a little bit more in terms of — anyway, coming to Boston was different, you handle the players differently. There were some superstars like that took me a little while to get used to coaching Ray Bourke, not that he needed much coaching. Basically what I did was when he came back to the bench, I would watch him, he would sit down, and when he stood up again, I would yell, “change.” And that was — it was that simple.
But there were other guys that you had to work and you had to listen to. I think both of these guys, they’re quite similar. Like the teams are similar, the coaches are similar. There’s nothing of intrigue about Craig Berube. He’ll just tell you exactly what he’s thinking 90 percent of the time. I suppose there are a couple things he might dodge, but when you’re a player, the best you want — you want to get it straight.
There’s no better example than his handling of Tarasenko after Game 1 in the Conference Final. Tarasenko was not very good. He was pretty much invisible. And that’s not something that you need from your star player in a Conference Finals.
So he was asked a question about him in Game 1, and he said to the media, and I’m sure he said it to Tarasenko, he said, Vladi has got to work harder away from the puck; he’s got to work much harder. And then he said, I think he will. And I’m sure that’s exactly what he said to Tarasenko; you’ve got to work harder, I know you will. And Tarasenko has responded tremendously.
On the other side, Cassidy, who there have been some stories about how he handles things and a young guy and in Washington, and maybe you live and learn, but he too is just as straight as the day is long. I’ve been to morning skates and those post-skate press conferences where some guys will dodge every question.
But somebody asked Bruce Cassidy, any lineup changes, and he said, he didn’t say, we’ll see at game time. He said, well, listen, if Acciari can play, he’s in. If not, Wagner comes back in, or something to that effect. He was just like — there were no — there was nothing to hide from him, from his perspective. And that’s the way that both coaches are.
I think that it’s they have evolved. I’m sure they’re better coaches in their second positions. They have evolved, but their basic approach of telling it like it is I think is the proper one for coaches.
Q. Pierre, you talked to Ryan O’Reilly after a pair of wings in the West Final including the clinching game and certainly he’s been a major factor in the Blues season when he said he lost his passion for the game last year in Buffalo that wasn’t surprising to me he was on a 62 point team. But how surprising was it to you to see Buffalo give up on him so quickly and by the same token what’s it been like to see him take off on this club that clearly seems to be a better fit for him?
PIERRE MCGUIRE: When he was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round he was probably considered the steal of the draft by most guys that do that for a living. He was a phenomenal talent then, he made the league as an 18-year-old as a second round pick, not many people thought that would happen. He’s always had amazing passion for the game. He’s an old-school player. He’s the first St. Louis Blues player to get to the rink every day and he’s probably the last guy to leave. He usually arrives at 3:25 every afternoon and he is thorough in terms of his preparation and it’s beyond belief. So he’s an old-school throwback kind of a player, but here’s the biggest thing is, last year I understand where Buffalo was going, Ryan clearly wasn’t happy there, the management was trying to change the culture of the dressing room, he had made some pretty strong statements about where he thought the organization was trending at that time, so you can understand why they moved him out. It’s a deal that probably will work out for both teams eventually. It’s obviously worked out very well for St. Louis. But I think the biggest thing with Ryan O’Reilly when you watch him play, just his passion and his knowledge of the game. He was having a really tough time — I’ll use this as an example for him winning faceoffs in the San Jose series. Really, really difficult time. I visited with him and I said, what do you think the problem is? He said, I’m not putting my hand low enough, I got to make the adjustment, I got to get deeper, I got to get lower, these guys are a little bit stronger than me. And he made that adjustment and he did that internally and eventually it really paid dividends. So I think quite frankly, yeah, you can see his passion is back and you can see the way he really has evolved with his teammates, it’s been phenomenal to watch and he’s been a major reason why St. Louis has done as well as they have done, especially after the 1st of January of this year.
Q. Sam and maybe the rest of the panel too, just what do you attribute to the high ratings and high ratings, was it upsets in the first round or more small established markets progressing further?
SAM FLOOD: I think there are a number of factors in play. I think it’s one is there’s nothing like playoff hockey. It’s just — the incredible passion of these players and the work ethic on the ice, the physicality and the remarkable skill of the players, they all combined to get people engaged in the game. And that first line did have dramatic upsets, we didn’t know what all these markets would do, but Jenny Storms, who leads our marketing effort, did a remarkable job of pushing attention outside of the markets that were still alive. So for the first time ever we targeted hockey markets of teams that were eliminated. So we were making sure that in Chicago and other teams that were no longer in the playoffs that they were up to date on the hockey story and being driven to tune into our shows. I think it was a new strategy, the NHL Gary Bettman was all on board with this so the league worked with us to keep the noise about the playoffs outside of the home markets and we know hockey is an incredible travel sport and people love to watch hockey in their home markets. We think that the tied is being turned and even when your team’s eliminated people are now excited to watch hockey, a big part of that is the product on the ice. The way these players go at it and don’t take even a nanosecond off and I think the game and the level it’s at and the play on ice is a big reason why these audience numbers are where they are. That combined with a marketing strategy that was new and unique and very well thought out by Jenny Storms.
MIKE MILBURY: I don’t really worry about the ratings, I let Sam worry about that. The only one I’m worried about is the one on my paycheck.
SAM FLOOD: Oh, we love you Mike.
Q. Mike and Pierre, how do you two lineups are constructed in terms of height, weight, sort of the score of their prime and nobody with a big salary cap in, do you think other teams should or ought to mimic what they’re doing or is this sort of a lightning in a bottle at this point. What do you think how these watches are built by the general managers?
PIERRE MCGUIRE: I think the Bruins have been built like this for a long time I’ve been talking about them for a long time now. Donnie Sweeney has done a tremendous job building that brand and he deserves a ton of credit, along with his scouts, but I don’t think the Bruins are a one off at all, I think the Bruins have been a consistently good team for awhile and the Maple leaves have found that out over the years. But I think Donnie had a vision when he took over as the manager there to be a bigger team, he went out and traded and got Sean Kuraly, he went out and signed Noel Acciari, these are big robust players. He made a trade to get Charlie Coyle. He drafted Charlie McAvoy, he drafted Matt Grzelcyk along with the amateur scouts. They drafted Brandon Carlo as a second round pick. This was Donnie’s vision right from the start so I don’t think he needed to copy anybody I think quite frankly Donnie and the Bruins have done a tremendous job. Doug Armstrong knew that he needed to retool and part of history tooling — and Mike Harrington asked me about that from Buffalo — was going out and getting Ryan O’Reilly, getting Brayden Schenn out of Philadelphia, so they knew that the course they were going on, but the one thing that really stood out about St. Louis that’s really apparent is Jordan Binnington has made everybody in St. Louis better and he’s again somebody that was drafted by the organization. So if teams want to copy that they can but I think robust hockey is back in the National Hockey League and I think it’s going to be back for awhile. Pete DeBoer had one of the best lines, when I interviewed him in the second TV timeout in the second period of Game 6. I asked him about utilizing size against St. Louis, he said, they’re a big team, they’re a hard team. People talk about smaller players, that’s fine, you can have smaller players, but you need to be big like these guys. And he was right on the mark. Mike, anything to share.
MIKE MILBURY: Listen, I played with Cam Neely and coached Cam Neely, played with him for a year, I remember one day in practice he hit me along the wall and I’ve never been hit like this before, I was airborne and I had, I didn’t know when I was going to come down really I felt like I had been shot out of a cannon. And I hit the ice and I looked up and he was standing over me had this big grin on his face. When Cam Neely took over as president, he said, we have to play to the Bruins’ identity. So that passed on to Sweeney, who had been a long time Bruin, they know people in Boston want a club that’s down and dirty. So they have, you know, made an effort to bring in some beefy players. But temper that with the fact that you look at their defense, guys like Grzelcyk and Krug, they’re small and quick, but smart and good puck handling players and that’s complemented with the size of Carlo and the humongous size of Zdeno Chara, or when Kevin Miller, when he was around, his kind of grit. So they have added some balance to their approach which I think has worked and I must say, they have been missing a third line all year long and the trade for Coyle and the trade for Johansson, who I must say I thought was going to be too soft when I first saw him but he’s played through that, he’s not going to be physical but he’s affective and skillful player, as Cassidy said to me the first day he got Johansson — and Coyle has proven to be an ideal third line center — so they deserve a ton of credit for filling a void that existed there.
The other side, Doug Armstrong had to make a tough call in the middle of the year. He fires the coach and he said to me recently, I thought we were much better to start the year than we showed and that’s why I had to make a change. And even he tempered his approach with Berube by giving him an interim tag and Berube took some time with his team to get used to his team — it’s tough when you come in the middle of the season, you don’t have a training camp you don’t get a chance to really put your major imprint on it right away. So they stumbled along and then all of a sudden — you got to be good whether you’re a GM and an organization and you sometimes have to be lucky. Both Berube who had Binnington in the minors and Doug Armstrong said to me, we never saw this coming, we had no idea he was going to be this good. And that missing piece, as Pierre mentioned, a couple guys he brought in, Bozak was also a pretty good acquisition and give them credit for Blais and give them credit for Robert Thomas and the drafting department, that’s, they have done it all and it’s come together at the right time, both teams seem to be peaking we’ll see how the time off affects both clubs.
Q. Do either of you have any thoughts of how they have done it cap wise because they don’t really have an expensive player. They more spread the money around rather than go after big stars as some teams have done.
MIKE MILBURY: Well I don’t know well Chara has been signed for awhile now, he signed cap friendly deals. Bergeron, Krejci, Rask have been signed for a long time, so some of these numbers have gotten in my mind out of control as time has gone on and they have been fortunate enough to lock some people down, I think the same is true of St. Louis, they haven’t had a superstar Tarasenko signed for a long time at a fairly reasonable number given what they expected and hoped he could do and what he has done most of the time in his tenure in St. Louis. So I mean they have legitimate superstars on both sides of the coin that timing may be everything when it comes to signing some of these contracts and their timing was pretty good.
PIERRE MCGUIRE: Whatever Mike said I agree.
Q. Sam, is there any gear that will be new this year that will be exclusively used for the Stanley Cup Finals and what is the content going to be around the games that encapsulate the whole 49-year drought that St. Louis has broke?
SAM FLOOD: We have a big call today with all the feature elements that we’re putting together, all the story lines for St. Louis, including going to some home towns of some of the players parents to get some back stories, it’s all happening, we will touch on the ’70 Stanley Cup Finals and some of the activity there. We had so many camera ideas that we’re still working with the league to see if we can get permission to put them where we want but we think that they could bring some unique angles to the game but we’re just waiting for clearance from the league and that always is a process and we’ll see where we end up.
Q. You talk about the St. Louis Blues, they were in last place in the whole NHL on January 2nd before turning it around. From your perspective what was the key to that turnaround, do you think there was some sort of turning point that helped them finish third in the central and then obviously advance to the Cup final?
PIERRE MCGUIRE: I spent a lot of time in St. Louis lately their road record if you look at it from January the 1st on has been phenomenal. A lot of it will be traced to a road trip they took that started in Philadelphia where they went out as a group to place called The Jacks and they became really unified there and eventually the next night they had a big game from Jordan Binnington and they started the roll from there. So I think their road record is part of it, I think clearly defined roles is part of it, Alexander Steen moving from a top line position to a fourth line position, finding chemistry with Oskar Sundqvist eventually and Ivan Barbashev, I think that’s helped them a ton. Mike talked about the Bozak and him becoming a really elite third line center in the league which has really helped that third line. So they developed tons of chemical as the season went along, that really helped, but I think again the Binnington thing is a huge factor in terms of what stabilized St. Louis. Mike just spent a lot of time in absolute St. Louis too, I think he could tell you the same thing about what Jordan Binnington has meant to that team.
MIKE MILBURY: Well two things, the hiring of Berube and the emergence of Binnington. It’s pretty much that simple. I think Berube was able to find a way to reach the players that he needed to reach and get the most out of them and they needed to solve what had been an ongoing problem in goal. And not only did he solve it, it became a strong point with Binnington. Those two factors for me were turn around factors.
Q. Curious to hear what Eddie and Doc have to think.
EDDIE OLCZYK: Well Pierre and Mike pretty much summed up everything, I would just be repeating a lot of what they said. I mean it’s really remarkable to think about where they were and one thing that hasn’t been said is the understanding of the general manager in Doug Armstrong of not pulling the plug because he could have easily have done that. He could have easily started moving pieces, forget the rumors, facts, I mean there were conversations up and down and throughout the National Hockey League of guys available in St. Louis and give Doug credit, right, I mean he decided to make a coaching change in November, it was up-and-down for a period of time, and they hit rock bottom in early January and could have easily sold the farm and started over or whatever the terminology you want to use and just an incredible I don’t want to say a turnaround because I think I can’t speak for anybody else, and I won’t, I thought the Blues would be battling for second or third place in a division from day one. Now they eventually got there and let’s not forget they were sitting in first place in the Central with a couple of nights to go in the last week of the regular season and then eventually found themselves in third. But it’s been a hell of a ride and they deserve every bit of accolades that have come their way to this point.
MIKE EMRICK: One other thing about Binnington that has been documented by other but he shared with me when I spoke with him in an afternoon game that the Bruins had in Pittsburgh before we had a night game the next day, was that the Bruins didn’t have a place for him to play a year ago and many of you listening to this know what happened. He wouldn’t take assignment to the ECHL and they finally found him a place to play in Providence with the Bruins farm team. Four out of the guys that are on the roster for the Bruins in this final were teammates of his in Providence last year. And he had a wonderful record playing in Providence, he played well over many games there. He was 17-9-0 with the Providence Bruins and Grzelcyk was one of his teammates there and so he got through that last year and he started in San Antonio where the Blues have an American Hockey League team and he wasn’t their starting goaltender this year, he sat the bench for awhile. Finally they got off to such a sputtering start they gave him a chance to play and he was good. Then they started winning and then came the coaching change and all the rest. It will be fun documenting that when we get time to, once these telecasts begin, but that’s the meteoric rise that he had. And it’s going to be an exciting story for us to document and that will just give you an indication of the conversation I had with him and what it will eventually lead to when we get a chance to share it.
Q. Sam, the shot the camera shots from behind the goal are terrific. I see you use it when there’s a power play or even a two-man advantage. What’s the future of that shot? I mean I think it’s a wonderful shot, how much more do you expect to use it, will you ever split your screen or anything like that and if I’ve missed it, my apologies?
SAM FLOOD: We’ll never split the screen. As much as with the sport of hockey and the puck being so small and moving so fast the only time the second image comes on the screen is when a goalie is pulled and he’s skating to the bench or when an injured player behind the play is able to navigate off the ice while the puck is in the other end. But when a power play is happening, we like playing around with the robotic camera from behind the net, before the safety nets were put in place I was a big fan of the power play’s being shown from the end zone camera up higher that was a little more lens on it and was able to show a little bit more. But once the netting got put in for all the right reasons, for the safety of the fans, it was no longer possible to shoot through the netting for live coverage it just got too distracting. So this is a compromise, it’s good, but it can’t be the whole time because if you miss a little bit because the lens isn’t quite as good as it would be if the lens was on a main hard camera.
Q. The subject here is betting. So I would like to get Sam and Ed on this. Next year they’re going to roll out this NHL this guy and the data package which the name of which escapes me at the moment, but I see this as the segue to betting, now that the Supreme Court has given that to the states. So Sam from your aspect do you wonder what the whole betting aspect is going to mean toward content of the broadcast, tailoring of the broadcast and then Eddie, because of your experience with racetrack and that is the betting world, how you think the whole betting thing will influence the NHL?
SAM FLOOD: I would start by saying the game is always going to be the focus of our coverage and unlike other sports, hockey is not the top of the charts for gambling. It is not, when you’re in Vegas in a sports book it’s not the top sport that people are putting money on. So I think it’s an opportunity but it’s not a built-in structure right now with a lot of people betting on hockey games. And let’s also remember that it’s a specialized sport where people, unlike the NFL, where everyone thinks they have all the answers I don’t think as many people have all the answers in the NHL, which complicates the opportunity to wager money. There is the opportunity the NHL’s creating with all the data that will come from the player and puck tracking and we’ll see what that evolves into, but it’s a longer play, it’s not going to change dramatically in the next couple of years. Over time as gambling rolls out across more states and it’s now just isolated to the very few states that it’s legal in right now, it will change. But right now you really can’t be involved in licensed sports betting in very few hockey markets at all. Which I think until it gets broader you’re going to be limited in what you can accomplish.
EDDIE OLCZYK: No, I think, Kevin, that I think moving forward, I mean, this is an opportunity to really teach the game, expand the game to maybe an audience that is looking to play a side or play a total moving forward and look, the National Hockey League is all in. I know Sam and us at NBC are all in when it comes to look at this as this is the new world. Again, baby steps. We know the impact that wagering on National Football League games whether it’s total, whether it’s spreads, whether it’s first quarter, whether it’s first half, I mean all these things, I mean you look at how baseball wagering has evolved here you have five inning wagers and you have the full game wager and so I think, I think the sky’s the limit and I think that the game will adjust moving forward and the more people that have the confidence that think they know what’s going on they’re going to be much more apt to want to look at it and another opportunity to be entertained. I just think it’s something that was inevitable from our sport and the world that we live in now with phones that are in our hand that you can go ahead and get your feet wet if you would like, whether it’s horse racing or any other sport, it’s right at our disposal and I just think that it’s another avenue for us to help sell the game, promote the game, teach the game, and hopefully — we know there’s a lot of money when it comes to gambling on sports, we know that. I think it’s, for now, when it comes to hockey, it is truly an untapped market because this is all so new and so fresh and it’s going to be very exciting and look, there are going to be opportunities to — we see it in football, we see it in baseball, it shows directly revolving around matchups on a certain day. So there will be lots of opportunity for programming but certainly that’s all on Sam’s table and not ours and if he needs any help I’ll certainly raise my hand whether it comes to hockey or horse racing but I think it’s going to be great for the game, not only financially but also for the popularity because as Sam touched on there’s nothing better — I mean I know we’re talking about the gambling part of it — but the playoff hockey, there’s nothing better and people are, when people take a side, they are totally invested and when they see playoff hockey, I think we have those people for life, whether they’re wagering or not, it’s the greatest game in the world and hopefully we can have a huge score with what’s to take place here over the next little while.